The battery pack charger that sparked the fire scare on board a United Airlines plane. Photo from Daytona Beach International Airport. The battery pack charger that sparked the fire scare on board a United Airlines plane. Photo from Daytona Beach International Airport.

Burning batteries cause passenger plane to make an emergency landing

A plane had to divert and make an emergency landing after a battery charger caught fire mid-air. 

The United Airlines plane was flying from Newark in New Jersey to the Bahamas with 130 passengers on board when faulty lithium-ion batteries are thought to have sparked the fire in a passenger’s bag. 

The charger had gone into what’s known as thermal runaway. This happens when one cell in a battery overheats it can produce enough heat – up to 900°C (1652°F) – to cause adjacent cells to overheat too. 

The bag was put into a fire-retardant bag and the plane diverted to make an emergency landing at Daytona Beach International Airport in Florida. No-one was hurt. 

United Airlines said: “United flight 1456, operating from Newark to Nassau, diverted to Daytona Beach due to a thermal runaway event on board. 

“Emergency personnel met the aircraft and customers remained on board prior to the aircraft departing for Nassau. We appreciate the quick work of our employees on board to keep our customers and fellow employees safe.” 

AvSax are the world’s best-selling aircraft fire containment bags by far and are now on more than 15,373 aircraft operated by 75 airline companies. They have been used 31 times to deal with emergencies since the start of 2017 and every time they have been deployed the aircraft has been able to complete its journey safely with no need to divert or make an emergency landing.

AvSax won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the UK in 2018.